Good peace practice is grounded deeply in a clear articulation of theory, and a deep and ever evolving analysis of a conflict system. Module One provides students with frameworks, theories, experiences, and skills towards strengthening their analytical approach, which grounding it in a solid theoretical framework.

Fundamental to this approach is the collaboration of adult learners who together create a learning community of practice. ACTS students are grounded in their own realities, and already hold significant insights and learning to share with each other. While learning more about, and critiquing, existing theory, a fundamental aspect of the module is that students also formulate their own theories of conflict.

Research shows that practitioners are effective in addressing conflict when their interventions are grounded in ongoing analysis. Robust analysis and the ability to understand the dynamics of conflict is fundamental to conflict transformation. Towards this end, a session on systems analysis will be presented during the residential seminar of this module.

The ACTS programme is designed so that students can articulate their own theory of conflict as a guide for their work. By reviewing existing theory, students can begin to formulate their own. During the residential seminar, a range of conflict theories and concepts will be introduced. A guest lecturer will introduce key themes such as adaptive peacebuilding, inclusivity of peace process, in order for students to begin the process of deepening their theoretical understanding.

During this module, students will also work towards further developing their competencies in academic reading, critical thinking, active listening and writing to articulate their analysis as well as understanding of different theories of conflict. Such academic discipline and rigor provide the possibility to strengthen peace practice.

Throughout the two years of studies, Action Research and Transformative Peace Leadership run as two threads through all modules of the ACTS programme, enabling personal and academic reflection. Action Research is a radical, self-reflective and rigorous approach to research, and allows for integrating the students’ practice and academic learning in a way that seeks to strengthen both. Transformative Peace Leadership takes students on a journey that connects their personal commitment, emotional intelligence and work-life balance to their study and wider peace practice.

Overall, Module One serves as the foundation for the following modules of the ACTS Programme, and establishes the community of learning, which enriches and is core to the essence of the ACTS approach.

Module One Objectives:

  • Establish a learning community of practitioners.
  • Foster a commitment to academic discipline and rigor as a means to strengthen peace practice
  • Develop a conflict analysis understanding the systemic nature of conflict.
  • Commit to transformative leadership as a core component of peace practice.
  • Develop a foundation for conducting an Action Research Project.
  • Increase academic skills in reading, writing, active listening and critical thinking